RSS Feed
Dec 11

Juggernaut #4 annotations

Posted on Friday, December 11, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“Scalpel to the Soul”
by Fabian Nicieza, Ron Garney & Matt Milla

PAGE 1 / COVER. The Juggernaut fighting Primus.

PAGE 2. The usual introductory text page. As it points out, there has always been a mismatch between the Juggernaut’s physical power and his role as either a directionless pawn or someone pursuing largely trivial goals like personal revenge.

PAGES 3-4. The Juggernaut breaks into Arnim Zola’s base.

D-Cel’s summary of the previous issue is basically accurate, except that in that issue, Quicksand’s isotopes were said to be traceable to a for-profit prison run by Absolution Solutions, under the control of Arnim Zola. Here, D-Cel describes it as “an abandoned Factor-3 base built into this mountain”. The private prison angle is largely dropped in this story, and there’s some fuzzy plotting going on. Damage Control identified the isotope as belonging to the prison, rather than tracking its location. But according to this issue, the location of the prison is secret. So why does Juggernaut come here? Is this the officially-listed location of the prison, while the real prison is somewhere else? (If so, Cain never really reacts accordingly.)

Factor Three were the major X-Men villains of 1967. They consisted of most of the mutant villains who had been introduced up to that date, under the leadership of the “Mutant Master”, who was actually an alien planning an invasion.

(This isn’t the Factor Three base that went on to be used by the Thunderbolts’ headquarters – that one was in a different state.)

PAGE 5. Primus attacks.

As described here, Primus is a shape-shifting robot created by Arnim Zola. He debuted in Captain America vol 1 #209 (1977) and he’s normally shown with rather more defined features than this. He’s quite obscure – as far as I can see, his last appearance was in New Warriors vol 1 #73 over twenty years ago, at which point he was hanging around with the Mad Thinker.

PAGE 6. Arnim Zola makes himself known.

Again, basically as described here, Arnim Zola is a Nazi mad scientist villain, whose mind survives in a weird robot body. He used to be shown as a more normal-looking person, except with a face in his chest and a camera for a head, but he’s shown here as more of an outright robot (which is less goofy). I think he was last seen in Secret Empire as a member of HYDRA, and his design here is new.

Zola’s employer isn’t directly identified in this issue, but it’s evidently whoever is responsible for the Dungeon prison.

PAGES 7-8. Flashback: Juggernaut retrieves the remnants of his gem.

Evidently O.N.E. took the broken gem into custody after it was destroyed in Uncanny X-Men vol 5 #21. It’s not entirely clear here, but presumably the magic harness that he acquired in the previous issue’s flashback already gives him some degree of power, because otherwise he surely wouldn’t get this far without being killed.

PAGES 9-14. D-Cel jumps down to help.

Zola seems to be drawing a parallel between D-Cel and Juggernaut: both of them are commodities for others because of their physical powers. In D-Cel’s case, because she’s at least assumed to be a mutant, she’s an accessible experimentation subject in an age when most mutants are under Krakoan protection. Once again, though, D-Cel stridently insists that she is not a mutant, as she has throughout the series whenever the point came up.

The “bouncy boy [Primus] met a few times” is presumably Speedball, who he would have met as a member of the New Warriors.

Zola claims that verifying D-Cel as a mutant involves inspecting the hippocampus, though he backtracks from that later in the issue. Nobody else has ever needed anything like that in the past; I suppose it’s just about possible that there are edge cases where you need to do something of that sort, or at least where that was the best option available with Zola’s technology.

PAGES 15-16. Flashback: Juggernaut rejects Cyttorak.

In keeping with the theme of the series, he claims that having got his power back in this way, he now has the power without being under Cyttorak’s influence, and so he can take full responsibility for the direction of his life.

PAGES 17-20. Juggernaut defeats Zola and Proteus.

Juggernaut takes at face value Zola’s claim to be acting under duress, for no particularly good reason; it’s not as if it’s out of character for Zola to sign up to that sort of project. Perhaps Cain is just very keen to accept that sort of story because it would excuse so much of his own past actions.

The Dungeon itself is new.

PAGE 21. Trailer. Apparently the Juggernaut will be attacked by some bees next issue – is this a Swarm story?

Bring on the comments

  1. Luis Dantas says:

    In the pages 17-20 line, I take it that you mean Primus instead of Proteus? If not, sorry to bother you.

  2. Tim says:

    As a big New Warriors fan back in the day, the original run was pretty much the only time I recall seeing Primus.

    Nicieza wrote an unusually sympathetic Thinker ( “…whom men call Mad”) in those stories, with Primus depicted as a pop-culture obsessed Commander Data, almost mentored by Thinker. I wonder if the choice of Primus here plays into any of that?

    I guess I could read it myself…

  3. Ryan T says:

    Wondering if, in the end, this will have less effect on the X-Line that King in Black will (which seems to have a Marauders tie-in and where there seems like there’s at least one noticeable continuity error (Xavier talking about ‘his X-Men’ or something of the sort) already.

    In the promotional materials, the X-Men are featured prominently for it, even if I don’t expect much. It’s pretty bog standard ‘world in impossible peril’ event series.

Leave a Reply